Hungarian GP 2021
JULY 31, 2021
Qualifying Report - Another lockout
By Dan Knutson
Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas qualified first and second for the Hungarian Grand Prix, giving Mercedes yet another front row lockout.
“Amazing teamwork this weekend,” Hamilton said.
The line-up for the weekend was: Mercedes – Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas; Red Bull Honda – Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez; McLaren Mercedes – Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo; Aston Martin Mercedes – Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel; Alpine Renault – Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon; Ferrari – Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz; AlphaTauri Honda – Yuki Tsunoda and Pierre Gasly; Alfa Romeo Ferrari – Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi; Haas Ferrari – Nakita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher; Williams Mercedes – George Russell and Nicolas Latifi.
Fastest in FP3 was Hamilton ahead of Verstappen by 0.088 of a second. The session had to be red flagged when Schumacher crashed. His car could not be repaired in time for qualifying.
Tsunoda was the first out in Q1.
The ambient temperature at the start of the session was 84 degrees Fahrenheit (29 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Centigrade).
Hamilton and Bottas waited four minutes before heading out, as did Verstappen.
Bottas clocked a 1:16.610, and then Hamilton crossed the line at 1:16.424. Verstappen beat that at 1:16.214. Gasly slotted to fourth ahead of Norris, Perez and Ricciardo.
But the Ferrari drivers had yet to clock times. And when they did, Sainz went fourth and Leclerc seventh.
When there were five minutes remaining in Q1, Giovinazzi was 15th and on the cutoff line. Raikkonen was 14th and Tsunoda was 16th.
There was a rush of cars back out on track in the final two minutes.
The five drivers who were eliminated at the end of Q1 were: Tsunoda, Russell (for the first time this season), Latifi, Mazepin and Schumacher.
The fastest 15 drivers who moved on to Q2 were: Verstappen, Hamilton, Bottas, Sainz, Gasly, Stroll, Norris, Leclerc, Vettel, Perez, Ocon, Raikkonen, Ricciardo and Giovinazzi.
The top 10 qualifiers would start the race using the same compound tires they used to clock their fastest lap time in Q2. So some of the quicker drivers could take a safe chance of running the medium compound Pirelli slicks in this session. This would be especially crucial at the Hungaroring because of the high track temperatures.
Hamilton, Bottas and Verstappen headed out on the mediums, as did Perez. The rest were on the softs.
Verstappen crossed the line with a 1:16.769, and Hamilton beat that at 1:16.553. Vettel was third in the early going ahead of Gasly and Bottas.
The red flags came out when Sainz slammed his red Ferrari into the barriers in the final turn.
The session was restarted after an eight minute delay. Six minutes and 40 seconds remained. Tenth and on the bubble was Ricciardo, and Ocon was ninth while Norris was 11th. Sainz was 14th, so would not advance to Q1.
The drivers waited until the final three minutes to make their final runs. And all of them were on track. And all were on the softs but Bottas.
The five drivers who were eliminated at the end of Q2 were: Ricciardo, Stroll, Raikkonen, Giovinazzi and Sainz.
The fastest 10 drivers who moved on to Q3 were: Verstappen, Norris, Gasly, Perez, Alonso, Hamilton, Leclerc, Bottas, Ocon and Vettel. Both Red Bull drivers had to use the softs while both Mercedes drivers stayed with the mediums.
Q3 lasted 12 minutes. Verstappen headed out in front of Bottas and Hamilton. Leclerc was ahead of that trio.
Hamilton took the provisional pole with a 1:15.419 ahead of Bottas, Verstappen, Perez, Leclerc, Ocon, Gasly, Alonso and Norris.
Vettel had waited in the pits and then had the track to himself. He moved from 10th to eighth.
Final runs and Hamilton went out just in front of Verstappen. Neither driver improved his time, nor could Bottas.
The top 10 were: Hamilton, Bottas, Verstappen, Perez, Gasly, Norris, Leclerc, Ocon, Alonso and Vettel.